Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri/ Bhubaneswar, Feb 23:
While the police are still on the job of cracking the whodunit part of the bid on the life of Law and Culture minister and Puri MLA Maheswar Mohanty on Friday night, a whole range of theories on the real motive as well as the people behind the attack are now doing the rounds not only in Puri but in the state capital as well.
One interesting- though unverified- information that emerged on Saturday is that on February 15, a 17-year old boy Rajesh Das alias Raja, who stays in a rented house in the Balighat area in Puri, had told some people in Chhaitana, on the outskirts of Puri, that Maheswar Mohanty will face bullets very soon.
When interrogated by the people, the boy had revealed that he works for a nine-member criminal gang which is planning to kill the minister and a local BJD leader close to him, sources said. The boy was then handed over to the police but was let off with a stern warning, they said.
When the boy’s forecast came true, people looked for him but found the boy and his family missing. He is still untraceable, sources said.
According to a source, the plot to eliminate Mohanty was hatched a month ago by someone who belongs to the ruling BJD but was at loggerheads with him over both political and personal issues. People close to Mohanty had even warned him of the threat to his life, sources said.
What is, however, gaining credence in various circles including the police, is the possible link between the attack on the minister on Friday and the murder of former councillor Bhagaban Mohapatra alias Guna Simhari at Talachhu Sahi in Puri on 22 August 2012. Apparently, Simhari had a longstanding feud with the minister and other persons over a very valuable piece of land in Puri and that was widely suspected to have been the reason behind his murder.
The main accused in the Guna Simhari murder case, Krushna Chandra Pratihari, who managed to get bail from the Supreme Court only recently, is allegedly close to the minister. The fact that the attack on the minister was carried out soon after his release from jail has led people to link the two incidents.
The other theory in circulation is that an active local extortionist gang had turned against the minister for certain reasons, including his refusal to protect them against police action.
“They could have targeted Mohanty either on their own or at the behest of of his adversaries in the BJD who wanted to see an end to his uninterrupted rule over the popular sea-side tourist destination”, a local trader close to the ruling party told OST.
However, police sources have refused to go by any of these theories and said they have detained a number of known anti-social elements and criminals for interrogation and trying to pick up only the credible leads that they hope would solve the mystery.